Monday, August 15, 2016

The last day of third grade.

Today is the first day of school in my district but I had my last day of third grade a couple months ago. My students headed off to summer vacation, set to return as fourth graders in the fall. The last day of school this year was a little different for me. I didn't pack up my classroom so that my carpets could get an extra good cleaning. I packed it up into the garage of our new house.

A year ago, on the last day of school, my husband's dad passed away, just eight short weeks after he was diagnosed with a stage four inoperable glioblastoma, the most aggressive and deadly of brain tumors.
When we learned he was sick and traveled to Florida to be with him last April Fools Day, he waited about two seconds from the first time we were alone in the hospital room together to ask when the babies were coming. He was totally relentless with that. A man who so desperately wanted (and deserved) grandchildren. I cannot even begin to count the tears that were shed during my pregnancy and since Madeline's arrival thinking about that conversation.

Life had been too busy. That's the thing about education today. Is it is always getting busier. With each new school year, there are new standardized tests, accountability measures, paperwork, professional development measures, interventions to try for students who aren't doing well. With each passing year so much of my job has become paperwork and so little of it actually teaching. Looking into twenty nine-year-old faces and telling them that yes, we do have to postpone our novel studies, math centers, and science investigations because we have to take yet another set of benchmark testing is really disheartening. This is what burns out teachers. Not the kids. 

That is not the reason I decided to leave the classroom - its that all these programs take time. And the time is always after school, postponing grading and lesson planning to the evenings and weekends. If there is anything that the events of the last year have taught me, it is to hug your family close and spend quality time with them. So, that is what I'm going to do. At least for now. I may return to work with a classroom of sweet students in a couple years but for the next year, I'm going to cook dinner, do my husband's laundry, and watch TV snuggled on the couch without a stack of papers and a flair pen in my lap. I'm going to spend quality time at home. I'm going to take my dog on walks and spend extra time petting him and letting him sit on my lap. Most importantly though, I'm going to spend time with Madeline while she is little. Leaving for work every morning while she slept away in a cute little swaddled ball when I returned to work after maternity leave was complete torture. So, I really look forward to not having to do that for the foreseeable future.

I am so, so thankful to my husband for all his hard work to make this possible. Not only does he work tirelessly at his job but he has been on top of our finances for years so that we don't have any debt but our mortgage, which makes giving up my income possible. And I will continue both my Teachers pay Teachers and Beachbody businesses part-time to earn a little spending money. It will still be an adjustment but I am totally willing to sacrifice a little shopping to spend time with my family every day! 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Four Years

Yesterday, I celebrated four years of marriage with my husband. It was kind of surreal to wake up to Facebook sharing our memories from that day. It seems as if it was only a few months ago and forever ago at the same time. This has been an exciting year for us, experiencing my pregnancy and welcoming Madeline into our lives. Its safe to say it has been the best year yet. It has not been the easiest, though. Some days are long. Some days are hard. Some days Corey comes home from a week of traveling to find me in yoga pants and a tee shirt, snuggling an upset baby, and with spit up in my hair. That is a far cry from what life was like when we were newlyweds! But, there's no one I would rather spend all my days with. Its crazy how marriage itself is a living, breathing thing that is constantly growing, evolving, and changing. Happy anniversary, Corey. I love you!

If you'd like to take a walk down memory lane with me, you can find our wedding recaps here

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday Ramblings

You all, Charlotte has been like a sauna lately. I cannot even tell you the last day we had where the temperatures didn't reach well into the 90's. Someone tell me a story of a summer day in comfortable climate.

We have nixed morning walks and pretty much anything that has to do with spending time outside. Our days consist of lots of time on the playmat, walking around the mall or Target, story time at all the Charlotte libraries, and playdates as often as we can manage. 

Riley chose yesterday, the hottest, steamiest of all days to run away from home for the first time. He was fetching a tennis ball in the back yard with Corey when a deer frolicked across the back of the yard. And then, off he went. We chased him for two hours. By we, I really mean Corey and some sweet middle school girls in the neighborhood, while I stayed home with Madeline and alternated frantically calling and posting on every lost pet board, vet clinic, and social media site with yelling his name, walking in circles around my yard, and trying not to think of my dog getting hit by a car in rush hour traffic. It was a pretty helpless feeling, especially since he's never been "lost" more than five minutes. Finally, I loaded Madeline in the car and we went to drive around the neighborhood, which luckily is enormous and doesn't have much traffic.  We turned down a street and there he was, just sitting on the front porch of a house that looked pretty similar to ours. I stopped the car and we ran into each other's arms and we (Madeline included) cried all the way home.

Speaking of, do you all recommend electric fences or the real deal for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel containment? I told Corey we will have one by next week. Who cares who the lowest bidder is. The job goes to whoever can install one tomorrow.

I'd like to report that since the last time I blogged, my child has learned how to put herself to sleep. There were a few crazy nights once she learned to roll over where she would accidentally end up on her tummy then cry unconsolably until we rushed in to flip her. Repeat, repeat, repeat for 12 hours. Then, low and behold three days later she decided she liked to sleep on her tummy and now she babbles to herself for a few minutes then flips herself to her belly, puts her thumb in her mouth, and goes to sleep. Parenting is hard work.
Anyone live near a Brueggar's Bagels? I have been enjoying an iced coconut coffee from them on repeat lately. It is so good. I have coffee at home every morning but we head out a good four or five times a week whenever I need an afternoon caffeine fix or need to break a twenty to buy cute baby gear from the local mom resale site. 
House renovations are going well over here and aside from a landscaping overhaul in the near future, we are finished for the time being. There are still some big projects I want to complete in the near future but we're taking a little breather and trying to relax and enjoy our home. I suppose I can live with my 80's backsplash in the meantime. 
Hope everyone is having a great week! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Fresh Start

When I renamed this blog to Carolina Mrs., I was still a newlywed and super excited to be relocating back to the Carolinas, my home. I was re-energized and excited to write about the next step in our lives as we got re-aquainted with Charlotte and built our first real home. Then, life happened. There have been some pretty tough days as we dealt with changes at work, the loss of a parent, two other extremely ill family members, and the joy of welcoming our daughter. This blog totally fell by the wayside. It was easier to push it aside in this new era of blogging, where fewer people comment and have a conversation and it is more about making money than making friendships. But, I have really enjoyed this little creative outlet over the last five (!) years. I'm really hoping to spend a little time on the couch in the mornings with this blog and reading all of yours on a real computer with a keyboard (the old school way that makes it so much easier to leave comments.) Its been really easy to just flip through on the Bloglovin' app instead of spending the extra few minutes to really engage like I used to. 

So, with that being shared, I'm closing the door on Carolina Mrs. 

will now be 

Naturally, I picked this title because as a teacher I love alliteration and as a mother, I love coffee. Anything productive I do these days is powered by large quantities of caffeine. But, I'm ok with that. 

We're still working on all the domain forwarding but it will be coming along eventually. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Some "before" shots of our new home.

We closed on our new home at the end of May and started some renovations the very next day. We are already making progress but what fun would it be if I didn't show you what we started with? I have to apologize these are all MLS photos. I didn't get a chance to take my own before we started doing things.

After house hunting with us for almost a year, I think our realtor was pretty surprised when we fell in love with this house. She'd recommended the neighborhood to us but all along we've really loved and preferred newer homes. 

We also loved high ceilings, thick moldings, an open floor plan, lots of natural light and a flat, grassy outdoor space. Mature landscaping was also a plus. Well, this house fit the bill. It just needed a few tweaks to become more in line with our style.
We won't be doing all those tweaks at once. It will be a process and will probably take about three years before all of my vision comes to fruition. 
Phase 1: Refinish hardwoods, replace carpet, paint, change out downstairs light fixtures. We've just finished doing all of this. We wanted it done before we moved in so now we'll be taking a breather from the rest of renovations for a little while!
Phase 2: Change backsplash and granite, upgrade range. The backsplash and granite will take priority. Nothing is wrong with them per se, just not my taste and that is so hard coming from a custom kitchen in our old house.
Phase 3: Outdoor space. Some kind of update. Possible screened in porch addition with paver grilling patio. Maybe just an outdoor kitchen. Not sure yet.  
Phase 4: Upgrade master and guest bathrooms. Maybe re-tile Madeline's bathroom. 

There are other smaller projects that we'll squeeze in as we go. We're just about unpacked and I can't wait to share the progress we have made so far.